Isaac Leeser The Jews and the Mosaic Law, Vol. 5

The Jews and the Mosaic Law, Vol. 5

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Excerpt from The Jews and the Mosaic Law, Vol. 5: Part the First; Containing a Defence of the Revelation of the Pentateuch, and of the Jews for Their Adherence to the Same

This book, now for the first time published, was composed more than four years ago, whilst I was engaged in pursuits quite uncongenial to literature. Many a time, after a day of active application to business, have I spent the hours of night in writing. Books for reference I had but few; and the reader will therefore excuse the brevity with which many points are treated, which no doubt would have received more attention, could I have had authorities to refer to. In some respects this may have been an advantage, as it prevented me from being too much trammeled by the opinions of others. The reader may be assured, however, that since my residence in Philadelphia I have omitted no opportunity of correcting and altering many passages which I thought required it; and even while the work was going through the press I have made a great number of additions and alterations, at times amounting to nearly an entire page. With all this care I do not flatter myself that the book is free from fault, nor can I even say that it meets my own approbation in every instance; for many a sentence had to pass as it stood, because I did not discover its defectiveness till it was too late. One thing, however, I hope, that no error in point of fact, and no great want of connection in reasoning, will be discovered; at least I have done all I could to avoid it. It becomes me not, however, to be too solicitous of engaging the favourable opinion of the reader: the book itself is before him; and let him condemn or approve, as he may think proper after mature reflection. In conclusion, I must remark, that vanity had but a small share in inducing me to make public a book laying so long dormant; the reasons assigned in the preface, written at Richmond on the day it is dated, are yet operative, as no book of the kind required has made its appearance since then. But my own opinion of the humble value of my labours has not been changed; and I therefore insert the preface, though in some respects it is not quite as applicable as it was four years ago. To say that I should not be highly delighted if I meet with approbation and success, would be the excess of ill disguised affectation; but I may freely say, with justice to myself, that a fair criticism, even if it should strip my work of all value, will not be at all unwelcome to me, although mortifying to my self-love; the object of my enquiry and of this publication is the search for and maintenance of truth, but not the acquisition of fame; and as the humble inquirer for truth, I dare not be offended if I have been found wanting either in talent in my search for her, or in capacity whilst engaged in her service.

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